Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why spend time getting organized and planning ahead? Part 2

I decided I needed to do a little follow-on from my last blog and include some samples. I just have to begin by saying that preparing for this Sunday was a classic “Thank God, I look ahead” moment! This Sunday is Forgiveness Sunday and also, for those of us on Old Calendar, the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. That means combining normal Sunday stuff with the Triodion and Festal requirements. What struck me at rehearsal this week was that even with loads of planning, order of service printouts and a clear picture of what each of the four services would look like. (See sample of this Sunday’s printout, click to enlarge.) Everything took three or four times the normal explanation. Imagine if I had just shown up to rehearsal without that clear picture of the liturgical complexities that we would encounter?

So back to the follow-up … we have our liturgy music in one 2.5-inch D-ring binder. All pages are printed double-sided to minimize the number of pages and all pages and tabs are clearly labeled. Each tab is numbered and designates a specific section of liturgy – Great Litany, 1st antiphon, Little Litany, 2nd antiphon, Only-Begotten Son, etc. Within each tab, options are designated with letters and then have page numbers. Now you might wonder why we did it this way. The answer is quite simple. My husband, Ron – the engineer, said, “Numbers imply chronology and moving forward, letters are used to delineate choice.” It was hard to argue with that kind of logic. (See a sample page of our Liturgy Table of Contents, at top of blog.) So the Great Litany is #1, the First Antiphon is #2 and so forth. Within each tab the choices are labeled A, B, C, etc. So to answer my friend Denise’s question, yes it does all fit in one book, but it is a big book. Remember also, that we put Divine Liturgy music for Nativity/Theophany, Holy Week and Pascha in separate books. Our singers clip the pages to the tab before the service in order to expedite turning to the correct page during liturgy.
So the organization is clear and enables us to, literally, be “on the same page.” Once services are planned, then comes the fun part, planning rehearsals. With the beginning of Lent upon us, I have begun the process of planning my weekly rehearsals. Looking ahead at the entire season enables us to have adequate time to rehearse everything necessary for the Lenten, Holy Week and Paschal Services. Since we usually have a few extra singers for Paschal Matins and Liturgy, we designate particular rehearsals, in advance, that are for specific services or specific service music. BTW, yes we rehearse weekly, every Wednesday, from 7:45 pm (after Vespers) to 9:30 pm. During Lent or other intense Festal seasons we will often rehearse until 10 pm. We also have additional rehearsals on Lazarus Saturday and Holy Saturday. The culture of rehearsals and rehearsal attendance will no doubt be the subject of multiple blogs! My point here is that rehearsals also need structure and planning and looking ahead too ensure adequate time to rehearse.
Why do we bother with all these and many more nuts and bolts? To enable, calm and peace on the kliros and a beautiful offering of ourselves, and the worship to God.
(BTW, I apologize that I couldn't get the images in a logical place. However, if you click on them you can see the detail more easily.)